You know how people see different elements of a single structure? ie. In a painting, a writer might see the story, whilst an artist might instead look to the brushstrokes and tones. It occurred to me as I was thinking about this phenomenon that it might be used to discern a child or youth’s a) best field of study, and, more importantly, b) learning style. The way students are taught in schools has been bemoaned before, but I’ll reiterate: not enough attention is given to the variety of learners and types of intelligence in children, particularly those in state (ie. government-run) schools, who are more likely to have come from a wider variety of socioeconomic backgrounds compared to students in independent/private schools.* Although, practically, it can be difficult for a teacher to provide every type of attentional and learning style in a class of 30-odd, there is certainly the advantage of varying teaching style beyond simply dictation. If one were to look at modern studies of learning styles in correlation to attention, one would find that even using PowerPoint and making a presentation cannot fully engage a child’s attention.
Certainly, from experience, the teachers and subjects I remember best were those where the staff catered for students as individual people to be respected, rather than simply obliging to teach these children as part of their job.
*In part due to the academic rigor and attention given to private school entrance exams, there are also more likely to be students with disabilities in state schools that make classical learning more difficult.
Why is that relevant to today?
Well, my photo of the week is of the gable that inspired these thoughts – on the top of the Wantage dining hall. What do you see? The first thing I notice is the way the stone border on the central gable almost ripples down the brickwork. There’s something about the smooth-then-square-then-smooth that fascinates me most about this photo and centrepiece. Gazing out of my window as I type, I can see that similar shapes are used over the doorways into each block. I’m not sure exactly what that says about me, but it’s a writer’s job to have their characters pick out certain details that others would not.